A few weeks ago, I discussed the legal significance of patent markings on products sold in the United States. That article raised a more basic question among some readers: “What is a patent?” In this post, I discuss the reason the United States issues patents, how to determine whether your invention is patent eligible, and how to understand the different parts of a United States Patent.
The American Founders decided to grant patents in order to spur economic growth and to encourage inventors to reveal their discoveries to the public. Thus, Article I, section 8, clause 8 of the United States Constitution authorizes Congress to allow for patent rights, or limited time monopoly rights for inventions, stating that Congress has the power
To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.